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Kurayur panchayat school teaching untouchability for 40 years

We are not allowed to walk in streets where they live. We have separate cemetery, designated taps, tanks and toilets

Kurayur panchayat school teaching untouchability for 40 years
A view of the panchayat school at Kurayur, where untouchability continues to be practised | Credit TNIE

TAMILNADU/MADURAI: It’s the 73rd year of Independence and yet, untouchability continues to be practiced with impunity in this Madurai village. For the last 40 years, children of Arunthathiyar and Pallar communities have not been allowed to study in the Kurayur panchayat school. indian express reported.

Kurayur, a village that falls under the Thirumangalam Educational District, has a population of 4,000. Of this, 1,500 are Arunthathiyars and Pallars.

The Kurayur panchayat middle school was built 60 year ago. But in the last 40 years, not a single Dalit student has studied here. Speaking to Express, members of the community say they have no choice but to a government-aided school located 2 km away. “Untouchability continues to be practiced in our village,” says a villager on condition of anonymity. “We are not allowed to walk in streets where they live. We have separate cemetery, designated taps, tanks and toilets.”

“It began with our children not being treated equally by the school teachers,” says M Kumar of the village, who is a part of the Theendamai Ozhippu Munnani (Caste Eradication Front). “There are seven teachers in the school, but not a single one is Dalit.”

Kumar says there are 150 Dalit students in the village. “Every time we stress our rights, it turns into a quarrel. To avoid that we started sending our children to the government-aided school in Sannampatty, which is 2 km away.” 

Kumar says several representations were given to the District Collector, in vain. Speaking to Express, District Education Officer Indrani confirmed that there was no Dalit student studying in that school.

“Our department officials tried talking to members of the Dalit communities. But they were hesitant to send their children to this school,” Indrani said.

Villagers, however, were not happy with the action. “Instead of sensitising and penalising the Caste Hindus practising untouchability, why are officials trying to convince us,” they ask.

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